Uber is closing in on a pick to replace its former CEO Travis Kalanick, who departed the lift-hailing giant under a storm of allegations he tolerated a widespread culture of sexual harassment and mistreated drivers.
Per Recode, the number one finalist is former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt, who could be coming before the company’s board of directors for a final vote in as little as two weeks. Though the vote is loaded with tension amid a lawsuit major investor Benchmark Capital is bringing against Kalanick for alleged fraud — and Kalanick himself reportedly tried to interfere with the search in hopes of regaining his lost power at the company — Immelt enjoys widespread support and some members of the board hope it will be unanimous.
“We know it is never going to be a perfect choice, but everyone is becoming exhausted,” one source told Recode. “We need someone with the skills to move us along.”
“He certainly is not someone anyone can push around easily, which is probably his best characteristic,” a source added, referring to the company’s infamous infighting. “We all know Immelt’s not the dynamic entrepreneur that Travis is, but he can certainly settle things down.”
In addition to dealing with the poor public image which festered under Kalanick’s tenure, the new chief will have numerous urgent, high-level concerns to address. Those include dealing with lawsuits from angry drivers and disabled persons’ advocates, reforming Uber’s corporate culture and importantly to the continued survival of the company, laying the groundwork to get out of its nearly billion-pounds-a-year cash hole (in the long term, probably by replacing drivers with self-driving technology ).
While Uber was hoping to secure a female CEO, which would have aided their attempts to turn the whole allegations of rampant sexism thing around, numerous high-profile female executives reportedly decided their time was better spent not cleaning up Kalanick’s mess.